Dear Annie: Last year, my son gave this poem to me for Father's Day. (He didn't write it. I don't know who did.) This year I thought I'd send it to you so you can share it with the other fathers in your reading audience. Jeremy's Dad in New York
Dear Jeremy's Dad: We're happy to spread the joy. Here it is:
A dad is a person who is loving and kind,
And often he knows what you have on your mind.
He's someone who listens, suggests and defends.
A dad can be one of your very best friends!
He's proud of your triumphs, but when things go wrong,
A dad can be patient and helpful and strong
In all that you do, a dad's love plays a part.
There's always a place for him deep in your heart.
And each year that passes, you're even more glad,
More grateful and proud just to call him your dad!
Dear Annie: My father was extremely proud of his military career, which spanned nearly 40 years. He was involved in active duty during World War II, positioned in North Africa, then Italy, and he passed away in February of 1998.
I was expecting some military honors for him, but he didn't receive anything. However, my father-in-law, who was with the Air National Guard, died last June and received full military funeral honors, including a 21-gun salute. I don't want to cause any hard feelings, but I think my father is still entitled to this benefit, especially the part of the ceremony where my mother receives the flag.
Dad's memorial date is coming up. Whom can I contact about getting this done? Feeling Blue in the Bluegrass State
Dear Feeling Blue: It sounds as if your father was entitled to full military honors at his funeral. The funeral director should have been notified of Dad's veteran status and made the proper arrangements. Since this wasn't done, however, we're not certain how much you can expect to have at this late date. You can find out more information by visiting the Web site www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil, and also by contacting the VA at (800) 827-1000. We hope something can be done so that Dad receives the recognition he is due.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Musical Dropper," whose dad is the band director in his school district. Not only is my father the band director at my former high school, but my mother directs the choir at a neighboring high school.
I started playing flute in the fifth-grade band and was so bored that I wanted to quit. Dad said if I quit, I had to join choir. I hated singing with a passion, so I stayed in band. He also insisted that I take private lessons. I was fortunate to have a wonderful teacher who allowed me to move ahead at an accelerated rate and work on more challenging music. Now at age 22, I am graduating college with a music education degree. My experiences in band have allowed me to perform at Disney World and Carnegie Hall, and last summer, I traveled to London.
Here's my advice to "Musical Dropper": Give band a try for another few years; it will get better as you get older, I promise. If you are not taking private lessons, start. If you are still miserable, consider switching instruments. Finally, if band is really not for you, offer this deal to your parents: You will give band a try for x amount of years, take lessons and practice diligently. If at the end of that time you still hate it, they will allow you to quit.
Music is obviously something that had a hugely positive impact on your dad's life, and that's why he wants to share it with you. Future Music Educator in Ohio
Dear Ohio: We heard from many people who quit playing an instrument when they were younger, only to regret it later. We hope "Musical Dropper" will listen to your advice.